Branchial HOX gene expression and human craniofacial development

Dev Biol. 1997 Mar 1;183(1):49-60. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1996.8450.


Members of the Antennapedia class of homeobox genes, known as Hox genes, are believed to be pivotal in vertebrate craniofacial development. Here we show that eight members of paralogous groups 1, 2, 3, and 4 are expressed in the human embryonic hindbrain and branchial arches at 4 weeks of development. The combinatorial patterns of expression of genes representing the first three paralogous groups parallel the patterns described for their homologues in various animal models, demonstrating a high degree of conservation of the branchial Hox code. Arch expression of group 4 genes is defined for the first time in any vertebrate. Furthermore, as development proceeds, individual paralogues of a single paralogous group (group 3), which initially share a common expression domain, are differentially down-regulated in a tissue-, organ-, or site-specific fashion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Branchial Region / embryology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Genes, Homeobox / genetics*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Rhombencephalon / embryology*